Edited By Michael B. Hinner
The Change in Space and Time of the Stage in Chinese Contemporary Drama
By Xuying Wang and Junhao Hong
Xuying Wang and Junhao Hongs take a closer look at Chinese drama. They note that while Chinese drama performed on stage was in decline in the 1980s, it has been reviving in recent years. Young people also like drama; in particular, dramas which are adapted from popular TV soaps and films. Contemporary Chinese drama uses a lot of modern technology borrowed from movies and likes to add multimedia elements to the stage performances. Consequently, drama has become very visual, resembling movies.
But it seems that contemporary Chinese drama is also influenced by traditional Chinese opera; in particular, because space and time are treated freely like in Chinese opera. In fact, time and space are considered similar in Chinese opera and drama so that walking around the stage twice can mean that a lot of time has passed or the use of whip symbolizes a long ride on horseback. And some plays even use traditional Chinese opera chants. But that should not come as surprise because the aesthetic aspects of culture, for example opera and drama, reflect cultural values. Often these cultural values are hidden and not readily apparent to the audience, but strike a chord in the audience’s subconscious. So familiarity with these forms of stage performance can actually allow us to get a better understanding of the respective culture and its values; values, which might not otherwise be so readily apparent.
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